tv PBS News Hour PBS August 2, 2011 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> woodruff: president obama signed emergency legislation today to raise the nation's debt ceiling, just hours ahead of a deadline and immediately after the senate passed the bill. good evening. i'm judy woodruff. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. on the newshour tonight, kwame holman follows the day's events. we get the latest on the selloff on wall street, and we debate the impact the deficit reduction plan will have on the struggling economy. >> wooodruff: then we update another standoff in congress, one that has shut down the federal aviation administration and cost the government millions of dollars. >> brown: ray suarez looks at a new poll showing most muslim- americans are happier and more optimistic about the future than
other americans. >> woodruff: from utah, betty ann bowser explores a new way to make health care coverage more affordable for small businesses. >> shopping on the health care exchange is similar to shopping in a mall. you may go in and out of a variety of stores. the exchange is similar to that. there are over 100 choices. >> brown: and margaret warner interviews u.s. aid director rajiv shah about the shift in u.s. policy toward somalia, allowing more aid to go to famine victims. >> woodruff: that's all ahead on tonight's newshour. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> okay, listen. somebody has got to get serious. >> i think... >> we need renewable energy. >> ...renewable energy is vital to our planet. >> you hear about alternatives, right? wind, solar, algae. >> i think it's got to work on a big scale. and i think it's got to be affordable. >> so where are they? >> it has to work in the real world. at chevron, we're investing millions in solar and biofuel technology to make it work.
>> we've got to get on this now. >> right now. the william and flora hewlett foundation, working to solve social and environmental problems at home and around the world. and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: the u.s. senate gave final approval today to an agreement both to raise the ceiling on the government's debt and to cut spending, a deal the president quickly signed. the actions staved off a default, but left lingering questions about the nation's future credit rating. newshour congressional correspondent kwame holman begins our coverage.
>> new mexico, aye. >> the senate came less than 12 hours before the government's borrowing authority would have expired, leaving several bills unpaid. in the end the measure cleared the chamber with broad bipartisan support 74-26, and president obama quickly signed it. he spoke at the white house just after the senate result was finalized. >> this compromise guarantees more than $2 trillion in deficit reduction. it's an important first step to insuring that as a nation we live within our means. >> reporter: those savings are to be achieved over the next decade in two stages. the debt ceiling will be raised by a similar amount, also in two stages, allowing the government to continue borrowing into 2013. the plan relies on a joint congressional committee to recommend $1.5 trillion of the total savings. congress must approve the recommendations by year's end or
automatic spending cuts will kick in. that scenario makes likely a renewed fight this fall over spending cuts versus tax increases. senate majority leader harry reid spoke for many democrats today. >> the only way we can arrive at a fair arrangement for the american people is to have equal sharing. it's going to be share darns it's going to be painful. each party if they do the right thing it's going to be painful for them because to be fair we have to move forward, there has to be equal spending cuts, there has to be some revenue that matches that. >> reporter: but senate g.o.p. leader mitch mcconnell gave no indication that his side will give ground on tax hikes. >> so, much work remains, and to that end the first step will make sure that republicans who sit on the powerful cost-cutting committee are serious people who put the best interests of the american people and the principles that we have fought
for throughout this debate first. >> reporter: the president, meanwhile, looked to quickly put the debt debate behind him and turn attention to job creation. >> while washington has been absorbed in this debate about deficits, people across the country are asking what can we do to help the father looking for work. what are we going to do for the single mom who has seen her hours cut back at the hospital. what are we going to do to make it easier for businesses to put up that "now hiring" sign. >> reporter: while the president and lawmakers managed to avoid default, neither side appears to have escaped blame for a messing process. a new "the washington post"/pew research center poll shows 37% americans hold a less view of president obama in the wake of the fight and the view of congress republicans has worsened. there were signs of economic fallout from coming so close to the debt-limit guideline.
treasury secretary timothy geithner said he can't be certain there will be no downgrade of the country's credit rating. >> it's not my judgment to make and they have to make that judgment, but this is in some ways a judgment on the capacity of congress to act and what this deal does is put us in a much better position to make those tough choices. >> reporter: already there have been rumblings from major bond-rating agencies that the debt deal by itself is not enough. one of them, fitch ratings, warns today it may lower its assessment of u.s. credit worthiness by the end of august. >> brown: the day's action in washington could not stop a selloff on wall street. stocks plunged for the seventh straight day, and the market gave up all its gains for the year amid mounting fears that the economy is stalling again. the dow jones industrial average lost nearly 266 points to close at 11,866. the nasdaq fell 75 points to close at 2669.
and we look further at the state of the economy and the impact of the debt and deficit deal with robert reich, professor of public policy at the university of california, berkeley. he served as labor secretary in the clinton administration. and john taylor, economics profeor at stanford university and a senior fellow at the hoover institution. he was a treasury official in the george w. bush administration. mr. reich, do you think this debt and deficit deal is bad for the economy in both the short and long terms? explain. >> well, jeff, it's good for the economy in terms of staving off a kind of a crisis that we almost faced with regard to a default on the full faith and credit of the united states, but it's not terribly good for the economy overall because it really does tie the president's hands in terms of a jobs bill that would stimulate jobs growth and fulfill kind of the mission of the government when, in fact, consumers and businesses are not able or willing to buy, or to
sell, and that's the case now. the reason i think of the selloff on wall street, today, the great stock decline is because a lot of companies now realize that there is just going to be insufficient aggregate demand for all the goods and services that need to be sold. >> brown: john taylor, first, starting point, what do you see as the impact on the economy of the deal? >> i think it will turn out to be quite positive. people have been very concerned about exploding debt, the big increase in government spending over the last several years, and this shows the government is able to deal with that. the spending reduction that go along with this deal are very important. they're a step in the right direction, and i think that's what the economy needs. it's not going to occur overnight and there is a lot more work to do, but i think it should be viewed as an accomplishment, actually showing that the power of people who really want to deal with this debt and deficit problem. >> brown: what do you think about the stock market falling
last -- all the last week and sharply today? because i think it confuses people on a day when there was a deal. >> well, the deal was, of course, known over the weekend, but what i would say is happening here -- this recovery is very, very weak, and we're just seeing more and more evidence of that. this morning we got news about consumption last month, and that's all negative, quite frankly. this recovery is one of the worst we've had in history from such a deep recession, so the problem is not just right now, it's this whole recovery. that's why i think these kinds of actions in washington where they're actually doing something, not as much as they need to do, but doing something will be quite positive. >> brown: let's back up a bit here. robert reich, to you first. what is the principal economic problem of the country now? we've spent weeks and weeks talking about debt. the president as we've just heard said it's time to get to talking about employment. what's the principal problem? >> the principal problem is not
debt, the principal problem is jobs and lack of growth. long-term, that is 10 years from now or seven years from now, yes, if we don't do anything about our mounting deficits there will be a severe deficit and debt problem. i think professor taylor is absolutely right. the country does need to focus on that. but in the short term, there is no question that the number one priority is to get jobs back and to stimulate the economy, to boost aggregate demand. if consumers, again -- and i want to kind of explore this because i'm interested in professor taylor's response. if you have such a shortfall in demand, if consumers, who comprise 70% of the economy, are under a huge debt, they're scared of losing their jobs, their houses have declined 30%, 33% from what they were in 2006, they are not going to spend. they are not spending. there has been a huge drop in consumer spending. businesses are not going to create jobs without customers out there, and to buy the goods and services that businesses can provide. and so government, over the last eight recessions, if you count
the great depression and the spending on world war ii, that's nine instances, government fiscal policy to stimulate the economy in the short term with jobs programs and new, for example, w.p.a., civilian conservation corps, all kinds of things that actually generate directly or indirectly jobs, is the only thing we have to stimulate demand right now. >> brown: john taylor, go ahead. this is what we hear from a lot of economists. this is exactly the wrong time to be reducing government spending. >> we've had a gigantic increase in government spending over the last three years. from 19.5% of g.d.p. to over 24% of g.d.p. that has been tried and it has not worked. i would say if you go back to previous periods when you tried these things in the 1970's it also didn't work. we had bad economic times. that's why i think it's so important to get business investing to hiring people. that will create jobs and by getting their fiscal house in order, number one, but also,
making changes on regulatory policy and monetary policy, we'll be able to create a pro-growth environment which will reduce this high unemployment rate and make the economy generally better off. >> brown: robert reich, is there a way to reconcile these two approaches? >> well, truth is not halfway between right and wrong -- i mean, i do -- i do respect -- >> brown: i use that quote every night, i think. >> but look, we tried -- in -- really, in the shadow -- in the gravitational pull of a huge depression in 1936-1937, franklin d. roosevelt did pull the reins back, cut spending, and we found ourselves plunged back into the great depression -- i mean, it is true, and professor taylor is right, we need regulatory ref, we need predictability, those are all important but we need aggregate demand, we need jobs, and if the government has its hands tied behind itself because of this new deal -- this new deficit
deal -- and consumers as they've shown are scared to death, they're not spending, with good reason, rationally for individual consumers and families, and businesses will not expand unless there are customers out there, it's not a matter of stability, it's not a matter of business environment, it's not a matter of taxes. they will not create jobs unless they have customers. this isn't rocket science. and therefore, government has got to spend more. now. >> brown: john taylor, what about -- >> it's just the opposite. government has spent a lot more. the facts are very clear. you just look at the numbers and even with this budget deal they're going to spend a lot more so it's so important at this point to change the environment. businesses are sitting on lots of cash. they're concerned about the future. they're not investing and they're not hiring people. that's why the unemployment rate is so distressingly high and why this recovery for the last two years has really been one of the worst, especially given the weak economy during the recession
that we've had, so this is -- approach that we have go towards. it worked in the past. i hope it works this time. >> brown: does the deal start to turn things around? you said it doesn't happen overnight. >> it doesn't. >> brown: you say this is a positive, but what has to happen next? >> it doesn't because there is a lot more to do in terms of spending. this brings spending down to maybe 22% of g.d.p. from the increase so there is still more to go on the spending side plus, there are these other things to do like professor reich mentioned, the regulatory reforms, pulling back from the restrictions that firms are operating under, and i think a more predictable monetary environment, international trade environment, would help. there are lots of things to do. it's a big job. and that's why -- many of you are focusing on it so much. >> brown: robert reich, brief response, 30 seconds, if you would. >> let me just say that undoubtedly professor taylor is correct, this is the weakest recovery on record but part of that weakness is that the
stimulus was not big enough, the drop in aggregate demand from consumers who were naturally overburdened and scared was much larger than anybody anticipated, anybody knew, anything we have experienced since the great depression so we needed and still do need a larger boost in terms of total aggregate spending. >> brown: robert reich, john taylor, thank you both very much. >> thank you very much. >> woodruff: still to come on the newshour, the shutdown at the federal aviation administration; the views of muslim americans; a health care solution for small businesses; and getting food to the hungry in somalia. but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: u.s. auto sales managed a small increase in july, but they were well below the strong levels at the start of the year. among the detroit three, chrysler led the way in july. its business was up 20% from a year ago. general motors was up 8%, and ford's sales rose 6%. there was no relief today in syria's crackdown on antigovernment protests in the city of hama.
activists reported syrian troops and tanks were moving deeper into the city, forcing people to flee the area. we have a report narrated by jonathan miller of independent television news. >> hello, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to our news for today. >> reporter: groups in the city of hama take control of public buildings to terrorize residents. >> reporter: all day, syrian state television has been playing these pictures of what it claims are the armed terrorist groups blamed by the regime for most of the killings in this four-month-long revolt which has left 500 soldiers and security personnel dead, they claim. acres of unverifiable video uploaded to social media websites tell a different story of how 1,700 civilians have ended up dead with 3,000 missing and 12,000 imprisoned. as guerrilla cameramen capture pictures of hundreds of soldiers
and a huge column of tanks moving into the west of the northern province offi dleb, under military siege for a month now. we spoke to a resident, today. "it's a ghost town," he says. "we're expecting the army to storm the place anytime now." and that's exactly what happened what happened in the city of hama, where today they were still burying yesterday's dead and some of the 80 killed in the ramadan massacre. they can't get to the graveyard. this is a children's playground. the crackdown in hama is still going on today. five more reported killed, 36 injured. but resistance is hardening. state tv broadcast pictures today of a pickup loaded with bloody bodies of what it said were soldiers killed by armed terrorist gangs. they were dumped, one after the other, into a river. opposition sources described the dead and those of the feared
plainclothes pro-regime militia. most resistance is peaceful. right across syria, in city after city, thousands flooding onto the streets after breaking fast, shouting support for the people of hama. demanding bashar bashar al-assad go and go now. >> sreenivasan: in a related development, italy recalled its ambassador to syria, accusing the damascus government of "horrible repression against the civilian population." in pakistan, paramilitary troops fanned out across karachi after a two-day killing spree left at least 34 people dead. police have found bodies scattered throughout the port city of 18 million people. some were riddled with bullets, others showed signs of torture. karachi has a history of political, ethnic, and sectarian violence, much of it blamed on gangs tied to political factions. more than 300 people were killed in july alone. major flooding hit the capital of the philippines today after a night of monsoon rains. at least one person was drowned.
waist-deep water swamped the streets of manila, and forced nearly 800 people to evacuate their homes as the marikina river rose. the flood tide caused traffic jams across the city and shut down schools and businesses. storms have battered the northern philippines for the past two weeks, killing more than 60 people. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to judy. >> woodruff: now to a different stalemate in congress: a big fight over the federal aviation administration, one that's already having an effect. >> woodruff: the blaenz kept coming and going at the nation's airports today but -- >> woodruff: the planes kept coming at the nation's airport bus there was new urgency -- the f.a.a.'s operating authority expired 11 days ago. >> it's another washington-inflicted wound on america and congress needs to break that impasse now. >> woodruff: since july 23rd, the f.a.a. has furloughed nearly 4,000 federal employees and shut
down construction grants for work on control towers and other airport facilities. the agency has also lost more than $250 million in uncollected ticket taxes. meanwhile, congress remains deadlocked. house republicans, already passed a bill that cut $16.5 million in subsidies for small airports. under the so-called essential air service program. members of the house went home last night with the senate set to follow. and today, senate majority leader harry reid signaled the democrats might have to give way. >> the essential air service is a program that i believe in. sometimes you have to be reasonable. i think as we learned with this big deal we've just done, sometimes you have to step back and find out what's best for the country. >> woodruff: democrats had controlled the republicans' real goal is overturning a new rule by the government's national
mediation board. it lets airline workers unionize by a majority of those voting. for years, workers who did not vote were assumed to be opposed to joining a union. republicans, like utah senator orrin hatch, have charged that democrats put loyalty to their union allies over extending the f.a.a.'s authority. >> correct the national mediation board, get union elections back to where a majority of employees are requisite in order to have a union, and i don't think there would be any problems. >> woodruff: if nothing changes, the f.a.a. could lose more than $1 billion from uncollected ticket taxes before congress returns from its august recess. in the meantime, the flying public has not benefited. in fact, nearly all major u.s. airlines have raised fares to what they would be if the taxes were still being collected.
>> woodruff: for more on the impact of the shutdown and the politics surrounding it, we are joined by todd zwillich, washington correspondent for "the takeaway," a program on public radio international and wnyc radio. he also writes for the public radio blog, "transportation nation." and ben mutzabaugh, who covers the aviation industry for "u.s.a. today," and writes a blog called "today in the sky." thank you both for being with us. ben mutzabaugh, i gather from what you just told me that reporters covering this had no idea this was going to not get resolved before congress went to recess. >> we're used to bluster from washington. we don't think that's anything new. we heard bluster on a number of topics, look at the debt ceiling, something got done, it wasn't the most eloquent of ways to resolve the situation, and speaking for myself i assume you would hear the finger pointing, the threats and the bluffs and eventually in this economy how could you go to recess with 4,000 f.a.a. workers on furlough
and the implications of that rippling out, i'm surprised they're walking away from this now. >> woodruff: todd zwill ich, we heard the majority leader say in that piece he was signaling it sounded like democrats might have to give up and go with the republican position. what happened? >> that's right, and it took less than an hour for aides to senior democrats to put out the word "that's not the case. we're not bending. we're not bending to the house." a little bit of a mystery as to the reason why. it's clear senator reid got some push-back from his own democrats who have been on the floor fighting for what they call a clean extension -- a temporary extension. this would only be a six-week extension to the f.a.a. authorization. these things are done routinely. by the way, this was the 21st temporary extension. the f.a.a. had been a very difficult agency for congress to deal with over the last couple of years. but people closer to senator
reid say the reason for the change was not a change of mind but a change on the other side of the aisle. that there was some movement on the national mediation board union issue, that the house might have been willing to relent on that. as soon as they pulled back, democrats pulled back. to be honest, judy, it's a little bit unclear why the change so quickly from senator reid's statement just off the senate floor, to, less than an hour later, when democrats scrambled to say "we're not going anywhere." i do want to point out, however, the senate is still in session as we speak. the house is not in recess. the house is in pro forma session. i'm not saying that they can necessarily reach a deal and pass something that staves off the shutdown the rest of the summer. i'm saying it's possible if there were to be a breakthrough and the republicans in the house and the democrats in the senate were able to agree at least on this short-term extension there is no reason why the senate can't move it quickly and the house could somehow shop it around and get it moved through. >> woodruff: it would have to
move quickly. ben muttsa baugh, let's look at the core -- ben mutzabaugh, let's look at the core, the national mediation board, you heard senator hatch say if we could figure this out and get the board to change its ruling on how these unions add members. explain what's at the heart of that. >> sure, and this came to the forefront recently with the merger of delta and northwest. flightattendants and other union groups wanted to unionize, as you said in your report previously, an an absent vote of the was a no vote. it makes it easier for unions to form at airlines. that's kind of at the center of the debate. but the critics of both sides here -- both of the republicans who want this labor issue attached to the f.a.a., and critics of the democrats who have had the subsidy issue involved say just pass this as a clean bill without any of these
flyers attached, not as a funding issue. >> woodruff: just to clarify, what republicans are saying is "we don't like the fact that this would be easier for these unions to add members." is that right? >> yeah, they may not say it in so blunt a terms, but that's at the heart -- they want to go back to the old rules where it was harder to form a union at nonunion workplaces. >> woodruff: democrats are pushing back and holding up the subsidy for these rural airports? >> it's tit for tat and you are having the two sides fall back in the position they have historically been associated with. >> woodruff: todd zwillich, what's at stake? we've heard of f.a.a. employees laid-off. is safety an issue here at all? >> it's not supposed to be. one thing on everybody's mind is air traffic control. air traffic controllers are exempt from this mess in congress and from the shutdown so don't worry about that part of your safety. safety inspectors are on the job, also. so that part is not affected. what's at stake is the 4,000
employees -- more than 4,000 employees that you mentioned in a bad economy, 10's of thousands more employees who work at private companies for contracts for towers and runways and other places, not to mention can i just say americans' faith in congress which is at an all-time low, we just got past this bruising debt-limit fight that went to the brink, congress's popularity -- if you think it could go any lower, it actually did, and now we're in yet another shutdown situation. that's what's at stake here. it will get solved eventually. the difference between the house and the senate is $16 million. nobody really cares about three airports in the essential air service, really, individual members might care but they can be placated. this is a showdown of ego, and will, and posturing in a very, very toxic environment. nobody wants to give an inch here. >> woodruff: again, ben muttsa
baugh, the flying -- ben muttzabaugh, where is the pressure on the congress to resolve this? >> if they couldn't do it now even in the face of this horrific economic situation that they're furloughing workers and a number of construction jobs is put by one estimate at 70,000 people have had to walk away from construction sites. if that doesn't give them the political will to figure this out it's hard to imagine what's going to be so different in september. i don't know who is going to blink, or cry uncle, or whatever euphemism you want to use but they need to get a fix soon and it's hard to imagine what's going to be fundamentally different come september. >> woodruff: you're saying members of congress are hearing from somebody that they need to get this resolved? >> presumably, none of their constituents, republican or democrat or independent -- i don't think there is very much for any of us to be happy about. safety isn't being affected but by the same token it's slowing
safety upgrades that are coming down the pike. there are real consequences down the road. >> woodruff: todd zwillich, finally to this question, where is any pressure or incentive going to be on members to do this, whether it be this week or whether they come back to do it in the fall? >> there is going to be pressure on the long-term f.a.a. authorization and the union issues. right now there doesn't seem to be a whole great deal of pressure on this smaller temporary authorization and the shutdown. look, it's august. people might not be paying that much attention to washington and the news coming up. frankly, members of congress, you won't be surprised to hear, have been pretty much distracted and overwhelmed by the debt-limit fight just like everybody else, there's only a couple of members who have been really thinking about this. you get the sense today as the clock was ticking it was an afterthought and there was scrambling to get a final agreement -- the only jamming strategy of one house jams, other side goes home, it
sometimes works, this time it doesn't, it's hard to see where the pressure is to get a deal now. >> woodruff: a remarkable spectacle coming on top of another remarkable spectacle. todd zwillich and ben mutzabaugh, thank you. >> brown: next tonight, a new survey on the attitudes of muslim americans. ray suarez has that story. >> suarez: nearly ten years after the 9/11 attacks and american wars in two muslim nations, a gallup survey shows strong positive feelings among muslim americans about their prospects in this country. close to 4,000 muslims and more than 850,000 other americans were polled. the findings: more muslim americans-- 6o%-- believed they are thriving in the u.s., more than either protestants or catholics, and just about equal to jews. and 93% thought their fellow muslim americans were loyal to the u.s. that belief in muslims' loyalty
was shared by smaller majorities of protestants, catholics, and jews. for more on this survey, we go to mohamed younis, senior analyst at the gallup center for muslim studies. mohamed, more optimistic about the next five years than other americans, even after everything that's happened in the 10 years since 9/11? >> absolutely. it's important to remember that our point of reference is actually late 2008, when the recession was sort of in full bloom and americans generally had much more negative assessments about their current life and life in five years, so we did see that same improvement across all other major religious groups across this country that were included in the study, but muslim americans were the group with the highest rate of increase -- or highest rate of improvement from 2008 to now. it's also important to remember that muslim americans, we found in our survey, were more likely to be young and what we found in both our research in the u.s. and across the world is that life evaluation tends to be more
positive with a younger group or a younger respondent than their older peers. >> reporter: there is wide agreement between muslims and americans of other religions that muslims are loyal to the u.s. but they differ on whether muslims are more obligated than other americans to speak out against terrorism. that was an interesting finding. >> it was, and i think that was one place, and there are many other findings in the report where the public discourse seems to be in a very different place than where respondents or americans say that they are so what we find is that whether muslims should be more obligated to speak out against terrorism, most groups are split including muslim americans. when we ask whether or not muslim americans are speaking on out enough against terrorism, what we find is that majorities of all u.s. major groups are saying they are not doing enough to speak out against terrorism. muslims are more likely to say that muslims are speaking out enough against terrorism in the
u.s. >> reporter: you found a connection between religious observance and civic engagement. >> we did, we found that respondents who are more likely to attend a place of worship are more likely to be politically engaged or answer in a certain way to a series of questions that had to do with whether or not they are registered to vote or whether or not they affiliated with political parties, in specific. that's not unique to muslim americans. we actually find that that's also a case with a lot of other religious groups in the united states. they were also more positive on some of the evaluative assessments of their life. for example, in terms of experiencing a lot of anger the day previous to the survey or experiencing a lot of stress, those with higher religious attendance were less likely to report experiencing those emotions. >> reporter: in general, did you find there was a wide gulf between the way other americans see muslims and muslim americans see themselves? >> in some ways, we did, and in some ways, we didn't. it's important to remember that
majorities of most religious groups did say that muslim americans are loyal to the u.s. and didn't say that muslim americans are sympathetic to organizations such as the al qaeda network. they were less likely to do so than muslim americans and i think that there are definitely gaps in the perception between how zokal muslim americans are in speaking out -- how vocal muslim americans are in speaking out and how they deep down are not loyal to the united states. we also asked about identity and whether or not people strongly identified with the united states, their faith, those around the world with their same religious views or in the same religious group and also their ethnic identity and what we found across all religious groups but also with muslim americans are that americans have complementing not competing identities so people are just as likely to say that they are strongly identifying with their faith as they are strongly identifying with the united states and with muslim americans, it was actually
statistically identical to the rate of those who said both. we also found that, across all major religious groups in the united states, those who strongly identify with people across the world who share their faith are no more or less likely to strongly identify with the united states. so in that way, muslim americans are very similar to a lot of the other religious groups that we see in this country. faith plays an important part of their life but at the same time they also strongly identify with the country and don't necessarily see the two as compoting. -- competing. >> reporter: you found muslim americans were less likely to have confidence in the f.b.i. >> despite the fact they were more likely to say that attacks on civilians are not morally justified, more than other american religious groups, they had less confidence in the institutions and interventions associated with counter terrorism. less confidence in the military. less confidence in the f.b.i. but also, more likely to say that the intervention in iraq and afghanistan were mistakes on the part of the united states as opposed to when you compare them
to other major religious groups. >> reporter: you found -- it was unusual to see poll results that also had recommendations at the end, which i have read a lot of polls in my time and you rarely see programmatic responses. you talk about using the mosque as a center for community mobilization. what did you mean by that? why is that a result that flows out of these numbers? >> absolutely. what we are always trying to do at gallup and what we have been doing is informing both leaders, policy makers and the public on the things that they care about based on the research that we've gathered, so a major part of what we do at gallup is always trying to understand human behavior scientifically but suggest interventions that would actually improve human behavior or the human experience to stake holders that would care about whatever matter from management consulting to what muslim americans think about their daily life. with regard to the role of muslim american organizations themselves, and local mosques, what we find is that there is a
greater need to have mosques be more of a community center and less a place to pray. there is a huge need among muslim americans to have higher registration in voting because they are less likely to be registered to vote. they also are dealing obviously with a series of national issues that they care about. so the stronger these organizations condition the more they can empower them to effectively deal with them. >> suarez: mohamed younis from gallup, thank you very much. >> thank you, ray. >> woodruff: as states around the country grapple with big decisions about how to help people buy insurance as part of the new health care reform law, many are looking at an experiment already under way in utah. health correspondent betty ann bowser reports. >> reporter: just over a year ago, doggie day care owner sharon optamum was getting
desperate. health insurance costs for her employees was going up so rapidly she thought she might have to drop it all together. then she heard about utah's new health insurance exchange so she jumped at the chance to try it. in july, she switched over. >> i started exploring that more and we came up with a great plan for our employees. >> reporter: starting in 2014 under federal health care reform law, all states will be required to set up an exchange. if they don't, the federal government will come in and do it for them. when they're fully operational, it's estimated about 30 million americans will be able to go online and buy health insurance. many of them for the first time. but two states are ahead of the game. massachusetts, and utah. utah did it because with 67,000 small business owners who account for three of every five jobs in the state were drowning in high costs. patti connor is director of the
utah health exchange. >> consumer shopping on the health care exchange is very similar to shopping in a mall. they may go in and out of a variety of stores and identify what they're looking for that day. the exchange is very similar to that. there are over 100 choices. >> click on here the "my family." >> reporter: to sign up, employers decide how much they can give each worker to buy insurance. that's called a defined contribution. >> with the utah health exchange, employers can access utah's new defined contribution market. >> reporter: then, each employee shops online and picks the insurance plan they can afford, and that meets their health care needs. last year, utah launched its new exchange with a pilot program and in january, it opened it up to all small businesses. but that's the only group the exchange addresses. right now, larger businesses and the 300,000 uninsured residents of the state cannot get coverage through the exchange because
state officials were not focused on getting more people insured, a key goal with the federal health care reform law. before family-owned wasatch steel signed up, it was heavy lifting providing benefits for about 20 employees. the continual premium increases for workers was a nightmare for general manager teresa wu. >> i was scared. i felt bad. i couldn't sleep. i really couldn't sleep, because i have employees that i love and care about and i couldn't tell them "i'm going to have to raise your premium $100 a month or drop insurance all together. >> reporter: wu's situation mirrors a national picture. between 1999 and 2009, family premiums more than doubled. small businesses paid on average 18% more than their larger competitors for coverage. >> we have that in 60 or 83.
>> reporter: when wu turned to utah's health insurance exchange, she saved $20,000 in the first year alone. when she switched to the less expensive employer defined-contribution model. and her employees were able to pick plans that worked for them. >> they chose different plans. if somebody wanted a higher deductible, they could take a higher deductible. if they wanted something that cost more because they had a lot of r.x. and they wanted their r.x. to go down, then they would choose something different so it's all over the board. >> reporter: while many other states have been looking to utah for advice on how to set up an exchange, critics point out the response to it has been at best lukewarm with only 160 small businesses signed up so far. lincoln narring, senior policy analyst for utah's voices for children say that's one marker of failure. >> there is a misconception of what utah's exchange has truly
accomplished. i don't think other states understand just how few people utah's exchange serves. there are more uninsured in utah than there were in 2008 when utah started its health care reform. health care premiums are more expensive than they were in 2008 when utah started its health care reform. so when we look at utah's exchange in that context, unfortunately, it really has not been a success. >> reporter: narring says a better way is the massachusetts exchange where the state is more involved in regulation, picking a limited number of plans and providing workers with subsidies to buy insurance. former governor michael lovitt disagrees. he says utah's lack of regulation is a good model for other states to follow. leavitt who was head of the federal government's department of health & human services under
george w. bush now runs a health care consulting firm. >> this is the way new things are built. typically if they're going to build a new power plant using a new technology, they'll build a small one and then they'll build it in a large way. if you're going to build a new machine, you do the same thing. so the utah exchange represents essentially an opportunity to try a concept, do it with enough volume that you can test its viability and then, over time, you begin to scale it up. it's also an opportunity for other states to learn. >> reporter: at utah's -- >> reporter: and utah a republican governor says the exchange has been a boom for the sma business economy. >> it controls the bottom line and it gives predictability and certainty to the business plan so businesses are more solvent. our economy grows. we have more opportunities for people to be employed. and we are also helping to control the costs by introducing competition from the different insurance providers that are competing for your business now. >> reporter: but narring sees a
larger problem with the whole utah exchange concept because it shifts the risk of rising insurance premiums to the employee, not the employer. >> what the exchange does is it allows the employer to control its health care costs but it divorces the employer from the actual cost of health care. so it shifts any increase in costs to the employee. unfortunately, it's done nothing to help health care be more affordable. >> reporter: patti connor says it's too soon to make that judgment. >> affordability is going to have to have an overtime, and you can't just snap your fingers and have the price -- the premiums decrease just because you open know an exchange. it's going to take the competition between the carriers. it's going to take streamlining and creating efficiencies between the carriers to help reduce those costs. >> reporter: even though more than half of the states are in federal court, challenging the constitutionality of the health insurance mandate in the reform law, many of the governors
involved in the suits are still urging states to get on board with setting up exchanges, including utah's. >> we will learn from our successes. we will also learn from our failures and over time, we will find, i think, a good pathway to finding affordable, accessible, high-quality health care. my encouragement is every state should be doing this. we ought to have 50 laboratories of democracy out there experimenting on health care reform, finding their own unique ways to find their own, unique challenges and solutions to their challenges. >> i'm going to hold like that. relax the arm. >> reporter: one thing republican opponents of the law and democrat supporters both agree on is that setting up health insurance exchanges is complicated, will take time, and so far the states have not been enthused. only 13 have passed legislation to get them started. >> woodruff: health and human services secretary kathleen
sebelius will answer questions about health insurance exchanges. submit yours on our web site on the rundown blog. >> brown: finally tonight, a new step to help ease the suffering in somalia. margaret warner has our update. >> warner: for weeks the world has seen heartwrenching pictures of hunger in the horn of africa. as many as 12 million people in five countries are at risk. but the hardest hit and most vulnerable are in southern somalia. there, civil conflict has combined with the regional drought to produce famine. 10's of thousands of somalice have died and more than half a million -- 10's of thousands of somalis have died and more than half a million are on the brink of starvation. yet aid isn't flowing to where the famine is because much of somalia is controlled by the
islamic insurgent group that's threatened and killed international aid workers there. what's more, u.s. antiterrorism restrictions make it a crime for any american charity to provide support directly or indirectly to al-shibab. today at the urging of major aid groups, the u.s. government eased that threat. us-aid administrator rajiv shah is back from the region. thanks for joining us. >> thank you. >> warner: you are back from visiting somali refugees from camps in kenya who fled. how bad was the situation? >> it's tragic and it's worse than most people believe. i met a young named habiba who had walked for 33 days with her two children and with little belongings she had, showed up at the desad refugee camp like 10's of thousands of her countrymates needing food, needing medicines,
her children needing health intervention just to survive and it is a sign of what has happened. we've known for more than 10 months thanks to a famine early-warning system that we helped set up that this region is going through the worst drought in more than 60 years and it is leading to a real famine where children, in particular, are vulnerable and are dying every day from preventable causes because they are acutely malnourished. >> warner: what difference -- what will be the practical effect of what you announced today -- in other words, what will aid groups who want to operate in southern somalia be able to do that they can't do now? legally? >> well, the united states has been on the forefront of the response to the drought and famine throughout the horn of africa for the past 10 months. but even on the emergency front, and especially in south and central somalia, the real issue is humanitarian access. and right now, as has been the
case for years, the al shibab and other authorities have limited access by humanitarian groups and in fact, partners like the world food program had to leave somalia in january of 2010 after suffering 14 casualties. so we hope that -- and we are working hard to make sure that authorities in somalia allow access for humanitarian organizations and n.g.o.'s, and the united states has been supporting those organizations and will continue to support those organizations going forward. >> warner: but what the aid groups were saying -- the n.g.o.'s was, "also we feel we're in legal jeopardy" and that was the basis, i thought, of today's announcement. what -- can you be more specific about what -- give us an example of something an aid group could now do if they were operating in good faith that they couldn't do five days ago? >> well, you know, now -- now, humanitarian groups and n.g.o.'s
can operate without the concern of legal risk, should their convoys of food be appropriated by local authorities or should they be taxed or in a position where they are forced to provide some material support to those authorities, but i would just point out that the real issue is not the legal restriction and has not been any set of legal restrictions placed by our government or any other government. the real issue for the past year has been humanitarian access, and we see regularly food convoys getting attacked, humanitarian workers being threatened and asked to leave, and as a result, despite the fact that the drought affects 12.5 million people in five countries, the famine actually affects only al shibab-controlled areas in south and central somalia, about 2.8 million people. >> warner: so what evidence is
there that, in fact -- at least, maybe, some local shibab commanders are willing to let western aid groups in? because as you said, they actually kicked out western aid groups a year ago then they sent mixed signals since then about whether they were welcomed back. >> we've actually seen some positive signals from a range of partners in -- and a range of authorities in somalia that indicate that there is going to be some improvement in the access for humanitarian organizations. it's based on those signals that we have worked with the ngdz and with a broad range of n.g.o.'s and organizations including european partners, partners from the gulf states and local community-based organizations that do have some ability to operate and we're seeking to work with them. we know how to save lives right now, and we have been well positioned for more than 10 months in most of the horn of africa, and we're counting on improved humanitarian access to help save lives in south and
central somalia and working in a very focused way to make that happen. >> warner: and if that humanitarian access doesn't get better, how great a chance is that the officially designated u.n. famine zones are going to actually expand? >> the consequences of this drought and famine will get worse before they get better and president obama launched -- when he first took office, a major effort to bring the world together to address food and security and precisely these types of problems through a program we call feed the future, because we know that by investing in agricultural development, by investing in creating safety nets for vulnerable communities, by supporting countries to create the protections from these kinds of problems, we can avoid these types of famines. it doesn't have to be this way and it is cheaper and safer for america to make those now than to deal with the tragic consequences of famines, of failed states and of food riots when we see what's happening now
transpire throughout parts of africa. >> warner: rajiv shah, administrator of u.s. a.i.did the d., thank you so much. >> thank you. >> woodruff: again, the major developments of the day. the senate passed and president obama signed emergency legislation to raise the nation's debt ceiling and stave off a federal default. wall street plunged for a seventh day, over fears that the economy is stalling again. the dow jones industrial average dropped 266 points. online, you can find stories about health care, politics, science, and more. hari sreenivasan explains. >> sreenivasan: we break down the basics of health insurance exchanges with julie appleby of kaiser health news. read more about the public's view of the debt debate in today's morning line. that's our daily e-mail dispatch from david chalian and the
newshour political team. plus find out what our science unit is reading this week, including a look at closeup images of an asteroid and the discovery of a giant fungus. that's on the rundown blog. all that and more is on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. judy? >> brown: and again, to our honor roll of american service personnel killed in the iraq and afghanistan conflicts. we add them as their deaths are made official and photographs become available. here, in silence, are eight more.
>> woodruff: and that's the newshour for tonight. on wednesday, we'll look at opening day of the trial for egypt's former president, hosni mubarak, accused of ordering the killing of protesters earlier this year. i'm judy woodruff. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. we'll see you online, and again here tomorrow evening. thank you, and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: chevron. we may have more in common than you think. >> and by the bill and melinda gates foundation. dedicated to the idea that all
people deserve the chance to live a healthy, productive life. and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
IN COLLECTIONSKQED (PBS) Television Archive Television Archive News Search Service
Uploaded by TV Archive on